U.S. Citizenship Eligibility

Applying for citizenship can be a daunting experience for those hoping to complete the application on their own.

One of the first steps in that long process is finding out if you’re eligible to apply for citizenship. The application you must complete is Form N-400 Application for Naturalization.

There are a few paths to citizenship, in this post, we’ll deal with the requirements for those who have had a green card for at least five years.

Personal Requirements

In order to apply for naturalization, you must be at least 18 years old at the time of your filing.

You must also be a green card holder for at least five years before you file Form N-400 Application for Naturalization.

You’ll also be required to read, write and speak English. You will be tested on your knowledge of English during the citizenship test. This is one of the final steps to becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization.

The interviewer will also ask you about your knowledge of U.S. history and government. These questions will make up the Civics portion of the naturalization test.

You must also prove to the USCIS that you are a person of good moral character. The good moral character requirement must be proven during the prior five years you lived as a legal permanent resident.

An immigration officer can also use any time prior to that to make a determination of good moral character, according to the USCIS.

The USCIS defines good moral character as, “character which measures up to the standards of average citizens of the community in which the applicant resides.”

Items that can impact a determination of good moral character include criminal convictions, statements provided on the naturalization application, and oral testimony provided during the naturalization interview, according to the USCIS.

You are also required to demonstrate an attachment to the U.S. Constitution. The United States government was founded on the Constitution.

According to the USCIS, “An applicant for naturalization must show that he or she has been and continues to be a person attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during the statutorily prescribed period.”

Residency Requirements

You must have continuous residence within the United States during five years before the date you apply for naturalization. You may need to prove where you lived within those five years. If for some reason you leave the United States for an extended period of time, you could disrupt your continuous residency. That means you may have to wait another five years after your lengthy departure to apply for citizenship.

The next requirement is similar but different from the continuous residency requirement. As a green card holder applying for naturalization, you must be physically present in the United States for two and a half years out of the five years required for continuous residence. Physical presence essentially means you can document that you were in the United States for two and a half years.

The USCIS also requires you live in the state or USCIS district that will be handling your application for at least three months.

You’re also required to have your permanent home within the United States from the time you apply for naturalization until the day your naturalization.

Verifying your Eligibility

If for some reason you are not eligible to apply for naturalization, the USCIS will reject your application almost as quickly as they receive it. Rejections can further delay the process of naturalization if you’re not careful.

FileRight offers a free eligibility quiz that will tell you if you meet the basic eligibility requirements after answering a few simple questions. That way you know you can fill out the application beforehand.

Once you complete the eligibility quiz you can get started with your application right away. FileRight’s mission is to simplify the immigration process and ensure that you’ve filed your application correctly.

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